Know how to spot a worthless certificate (and "training school")


Some say that there are three types of people in the world and they can all be equated to animals; Wolves, Sheepdogs and Sheep.

The Sheep are the everyday honest-to-goodness citizens, who go about their business with little knowledge or awareness of the seamier side of life. Then there are the sheepdogs – the protectors – that is where we fit in. Those of us who have dedicated or wish to dedicate our lives to the protection of others.

Which leaves the Wolves. Wolves are the rapists, child molestors, drug dealers, murderers and of course; conmen/conwomen. In the same manner as a wolf will sneak up on a flock of sheep and single out the young or infirm, a conman will present an opportunity where he/she is most likley to snare an unsuspecting victim.

Today, I’d like to discuss one particular example of how frauds can separate you from your hard-earned money. It involves “training”, or more accurately; “the lack of training’.

Over the years, I have been contacted by students who have sent off money to people they did not know in the hopes that they would either find them a job in Executive Protection or place them in a “great E.P. school”. Just recently, a young guy asked my advice about such a school.

I became concerned after spending little more than five minutes on their website. There were spelling and gramatical errors on several pages. Folks, if you discover spelling mistakes on a website, that should be your first clue that there may be a problem. I have conducted pirated merchandise investigations in the past and misspelled words were always a dead give away that the item was a fake.

Another concern was the fact that they were selling cookbooks on another page. There is nothing wrong with an E.P. training school selling books on Executive Protection on their website, but when they include cookbooks, that tells me that they are looking to take in money by any means possible.

Taking a look at their list of Agents, I soon realized that none had mentioned attending a well recognized school and they all had attended the in-house “training program”. A little bit of digging showed me that the “training program” consisted of a DVD only. Phrases such as; “Learned how to protect my client”, or “available to work overseas” were all cut and pasted and part of everyone’s Bio.

Lastly, a quick Google search of the school’s name produced a number of complaints filed by unhappy students who claimed that they sent off their money, but never received anything in return. The moral of the story; Do your Due Dilgence. Ask trusted professionals for their advice, ask to contact past graduates, find out what State, National or International Associations to which the school belongs.

Don’t be convinced because they tell you how to “learn to be a Bodyguard from the comfort of your living room”, or because they send you a nice certificate with your name on it (maybe not even spelled correctly). You CAN’T learn to be an E.P. Agent at home.

If you want to be a Sheepdog, you’d better start learning how to spot the wolves. Afterall, sheep’s lives are depending on you.

When a bodyguard looks like a lost sheep.


There are people out there who think anybody can be a bodyguard – especially if you are big and/or look like you know what you are doing. Some of these people are called Clients, whilst others are called “colleagues”.

I can forgive the clients. They know no better. Our “colleagues” however, can not be forgiven as they should definitely know better. Would you like an example?

I’ll actually provide two(real)examples. There is a security company who provides security to embassies. They began by providing just uniformed security personnel, but discovered quite soon that providing Executive Protection could be another revenue stream for them.

One day a Middle Eastern client requested E.P. agents to accompany female Principals around Washington D.C. The company did not have any personnel properly trained in Executive Protection (may still be the case), but seeing the potential for extra billing, they dispatched two uniform females.

The females had no clue what they should do and to their credit, advised a supervisor of this fact. They were told; “put on civilian clothes and just walk behind the Princesses”. This was told to me by a staff member.

More recently, we had a large team of Agents involved in a celebrity red carpet event. I had been in contact with the promoter for days before the event and was appraised on possible threats – both known and anticipated.

Due to the existence of certain incidents which occurred just days before the event, we discussed the need to increase the number of agents and provided literature and intel to all of the agents involved. Based on the information we had, we increased the level of security in certain areas where we anticipated problems.

The Director of Security for the venue walked our team around the facility and pointed out emergency exits, doors accessed only by his staff and any area that might be considered to have a weakness. He even “loaned” us four personnel from his department to assist us in our efforts.

Shortly after the event began, one of my Agents came to me and informed me that two of my employees were downstairs at the entrance. I immediately racked my brain trying to think how two agents would have arrrived at the venue.

The only reasonable explanation I could arrive at was that a couple of the guys who had been contacted, but who were not able to work had changed their schedules and were now reporting for duty. I went downstairs to thank them, but send them home.

One of the agents I had assigned to the front entrance of the venue pointed out two guys in suits as “my employees”. The problem was, I had never seen them before. I went over to the men and introduced myself. They appeared lost. They told me that they had been told to show up in suits and wait for a Limo. Apparently, the Limo would contain their Principal, whom they did not know.

As I walked away from them, I was questioned by one of the promoters who seemed anxious. I had to tell her that they were in no way connected with us, but that they claimed to be there to escort one of the celebrities. This left the promoter even more concerned, as this was “by invitation only”.

At that time the person in charge of the events for the venue came over. He too wanted to know who the men were and suggested that their presence may be a problem. My Agents kept a close eye on them and it eventually worked itself out when the Principal arrived and the “bodyguards” were told that this was the person they were hired to protect.

The “bodyguards” in this incident were so hopelessly lost and out of their element that it was not just glaringly obvious that they did not know what they were doing, but they actually had to be considered as a possible threat due to their inability to convince all concerned of their legitimacy.

I think we all know the moral of the story. Two words; Due Diligence. The least you can do before taking an assignment is to know who you are working for. No professional E.P. Agent should be so desperate for a night’s work that he/she would respond to a request to “show up in a suit” and wait at event for a limo.

If all you know about your “employer” is that he is somebody called “Bob”, shame on you. Don’t compalin when you don’t get paid, or you are involved in a Police investigation because you are working for an unlicensed company. What if Bob is a convicted Felon?

We won’t even go into the ethical dilemma of how it is possible to properly protect a Principal if you have no idea where the emergency evacuation route is, what threats are known to exist and the identity of other protectors who may be able to come to your assistance if needed.

Executive Protection is about Protection. A clown can take off his make-up and put on a suit. At the end of the day though, he’ll still be a clown – albeit a well dressed one.

Margaret "Iron Lady" Thatcher is no Pussy!

According to this article in the AOL News, the Canadian Government just missed getting caught up in a very embarrassing situation when they listened to a rumor of the death of the “Iron Lady”.

It seems that those attending a formal black tie function began spreading the rumor that the fomer British Prime Minister had died. Instead, it was a cat called “Margaret Thatcher”. Apparently, a Canadian spokesperson had been dispacthed to compose a statement of regret based upon the rumor.

When he did further checking though, he found that it was a cat had died and not the person. This is a great example of why you should always check out every detail and take nothing at face value.

It highlights the importance of my favorite two words:Due Diligence.